St Ives Storm Claims Lives

Video by Steve McIntosh, Saturday

So here I am in St Ives, Cornwall, for my birthday break and the Spring Arts Festival.

We packed the car up to the driver’s eyeline with Stuff, mostly comprising my summer frocks, shorts, bikinis (a frightening proposition now that the clotted cream and pasties are taking their toll on my summer silhouette), suntan lotion, even a cute summer hat to keep the ravaging UV rays off my face.

Friends assured me they’d had five weeks of lovely weather so I was confident of resuming my life as a beach bum (my current year-round ambition).

I should have guessed something was amiss. After all, this winter they had snow settling for the first time in an age.

We drove down Friday from sunny London. That night it set in.

It’s worse than Hurricane Gordon which hit the town in September 2006. We’ve had unprecedented storms, horizontal rain pounding the double-glazing, an unusual high tide and freezing cold. To cap it off, the new £10 million flood-prevention system they built last year to stop the Stennack road turning into a raging river every time there’s a downpour, failed spectacularly.

It poured, the road turned torrential, and many of the shops and businesses in Tregenna Place and lower Stennack have been flooded. This includes one of our hangouts, the Kettle & Wink Bar in the Western Hotel; the butchers; Yeung’s Chinese where they do great ribs, and the bookstore much of whose stock has turned to pulp.

Locals are muttering darkly about someone forgetting to turn on the flood system’s pump!

But, worst of all, there’s been loss of life. Several young locals were in a car that was swept into a stream at Zennor that usually stands a couple of inches deep. On Friday night it reached ten or fifteen feet. The chef from a local restaurant managed to escape but others are missing. Deepest sympathy to all concerned.

Today I ventured out and was immediately bombed by a seagull — bullseye! Not a normal white squelchy one, but one of those splatterers, heavy and dark with sand. I’m telling you, Mother Nature wants us gone and she’s not averse to using both comedy and tragedy to get what she wants.

For anyone interested in this sort of thing, I’m performing Anna May Wong Must Die! Friday 8th May at the Salthouse Gallery, 7pm. Charles Shaar Murray performs with Buffalo Bill Smith at the (hopefully dried-out) Kettle & Wink Bar at The Western Hotel on Sunday 3rd May. And the next day (May 4) he gives us the first-ever public reading from his forthcoming novel The Hellhound Sample (published this autumn by Headpress) along with a few thoughts on The Unified Field Theory Of The Blues, a tribute to the late, great JG Ballard and a few songs with Buffalo Bill at The Salthouse Gallery.

Thanks to Steve McIntosh for the video.

Madam Miaow says … visit Anna Chen’s website here:


Anna’s food blog here:

2 thoughts on “St Ives Storm Claims Lives”

  1. The Socialist Unity web site is cleared of any reference to her physical appearance on the grounds that it is sexist.

    Wardour Street and Rank and video packing 12 hour shifts for 67 nights straight at 2.50 an hour. !985 and a heartbroken man saving to escape his tears in India. Cycling to and from Bethnal Green every day, eating cold pasta. He couldn't remember seeing MM.

    Then after many adventures he ends up enjoying a day outside in the drizzle with his chainsaw. Often he has thought of moving to the East coast of Canada so that he could spend more time with his chainsaw and ice skates.

  2. ZAP back to the present.
    You had far too many last night.

    It's thrashing down. The English summer has started early. Everyone is blaming everyone else for everything.

    She walks down the road looking up trying to spot it.

    "There" she cries pointing to the huge balcony, " That's my future home."

    She looks around the harbour for the rubber dingy with her face stamped. Of course it's not there, well there's not one with her face, but one that will do when the weather clears .. sometime in September.. and the fortune that is hers' showers itself.

    She goes past the hoards of ogling tourists in every nook and cranny of England staring at each other, staring at the buildings. .. ooogggle ooogggle ooogggle oi oi oi.

    She enters the Wink Wink Hotel, is given a pasty and a real ale and the news that the 'Socialist Unity' website has done a feature on her.

    The comments page is full of hidden gems, the last of which appears like a Mohican declaring his last dying wish.

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